This Week in Comp, October 14, 2016

This Week in Comp is a weekly digest of workers’ compensation news from around the country.

Safety

5 tips to help prevent fires

The National Fire Protection Association encourages everyone to replace their smoke alarms every 10 years.

The National Fire Protection Association encourages everyone to replace their smoke alarms every 10 years.

In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, follow these five tips for preventing workplace fires: Have a plan, train your staff, be careful with combustibles, keep it clean and safely store flammables…MORE

Study finds Ebola treatment ZMapp holds promise
A clinical trial to evaluate the experimental Ebola treatment ZMapp found it to be safe and well-tolerated. But because of the waning Ebola epidemic, the study enrolled too few people to determine definitively whether it is a better treatment for Ebola than the best available standard of care alone…MORE

Fraud

Medical ID theft continues to rise
Nearly 2.5 million medical identify theft cases were reported in 2014, an increase of 20 percent from the year before. A stolen medical identity can ruin your finances, compromise your medical treatment and cause you legal problems…MORE

Recycling company admits $600,000 premium fraud scheme

Employers who commit premium fraud get an unfair advantage over honest competitors.

Employers who commit premium fraud get an unfair advantage over honest competitors.

The owner of a New Jersey recycling company misclassified his employees and cheated his workers’ compensation carrier out of $600,000 in premiums. The man told his carrier that all but a handful of his employees did clerical work. An investigation revealed that most of the employees were warehouse workers doing higher-risk tasks…MORE

Medical costs

New report examines impact of reforms on medical costs
From 2010 to 2013, medical payments per claim increased 6 percent per year in Texas, double the rate in the median state. However, Texas medical costs per claim remain lower than the typical study state, according to a new Workers’ Compensation Research Institute report. The report examines how workers’ comp system reforms in 18 states have affected medical costs…MORE

Opioid epidemic

WCRI offering free webinar on latest opioid studies
Opioid abuse has touched every aspect of the health care system, including workers’ comp. On Thursday, October 20, the WCRI will host a free webinar based on its recent study examining the prevalence of longer-term use of opioids among injured workers in 25 states…MORE

Underwriting

U.S. workers’ compensation delivers underwriting profit despite rate deterioration 

Net written premiums in 2015 totaled $48.2 billion, second-highest level since $49.7 billion in 2006.

Net written premiums in 2015 totaled $48.2 billion, the second-highest level since $49.7 billion in 2006.

Premium growth, technological advancements, declining frequency trends and favorable levels of reserve development propelled the U.S. workers’ comp industry to a combined ratio of 96 in 2015, a 5.5 percent improvement over 2014, according to an A.M. Best report. Three of the four largest companies in the workers’ compensation composite, including Texas Mutual, are state funds and have accounted for over 20 percent of the composite’s overall premium volume…MORE

State fund news

NM Mutual starts work on new $17M headquarters
New Mexico Mutual broke ground this week on a 58,000-square-foot headquarters situated on five acres in Albuquerque. The new office will include common areas where employees can plug in their laptops and do short-term tasks…MORE

IVMS drives fleet safety
In-vehicle monitoring systems can help employers change the unsafe habits that drive traffic accidents. Read the third-quarter edition of the AASCIF newsletter for more information on IVMS, prescription drug monitoring programs and state funds’ contributions toward managing work injury risk…MORE

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